As promised, here are some PDF related tools that I don’t use, but either have used, have played with, or just know about how good they are. These are the tools that I recommend when somebody asks me “what would you use to do XYZ?”.
The best free PDF generator. Just see my previous blog post. If you need a PDF generator, download that program.
From the friendly people who bring you PrimoPDF. This is a package that competes with Acrobat. It can edit PDFs, create forms, fill forms, create PDFs, … And it’s cheaper than Acrobat. There is a free eval version available. Download it, play with it and see if it covers all your PDF needs. If not, there is always Acrobat. An upcoming release will have OCR support (after release 6).
The PDF Enhancer is a very powerful tool to “enhance” PDFs. Enhancement in this case can mean a lot of different things: Make them smaller, fix common PDF problems, embed fonts, add or modify color management information, … There are different versions available, even a server version. Apago also has a free eval version that you can download to see if it fits your needs.
PitStop is a preflight tool that I used in my previous job. In addition to preflight capabilities, it also implements the Enfocus Certified PDF Workflow that allows a PDF file to contain an audit trail of all operations that were performed on it. In addition to PitStop Professional, Enfocus also offers the PitStop server, which can do anything Pitstop Professional can do in an automated fashion.
This is simply the best imposition tool for PDFs. If you need to impose a PDF, Quite Imposing Plus can do it. It is not the easiest tool to work with. One of the best features of it is that you can create sample PDF files with page numbers to figure out how exactly an imposition scheme needs to be set up. Once you’ve figured that out, you can just re-run the same process again on your real document.
PDFLib is a great tool to programatically create PDF files. I’ve used an older version a few years ago. I’ve followed the development of the library over the years, and I still can recommend it as an alternative to iText.